A nice little Japanese is coming: Lexus LBX – luxury doesn’t have to be five meters tall

A nice little Japanese is coming: Lexus LBX – luxury doesn’t have to be five meters tall

A cute little Japanese is coming
Lexus LBX – Luxury doesn’t have to be five meters long

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Lexus makes itself smaller: With the LBX, Toyota’s luxury offshoot is now introducing its shortest model to date. A crossover made specifically for Europe should finally bring the Japanese the success they expected: at least internally, the “B” should stand for “Breakthrough”.

When Lexus entered the luxury business in 1989, full size was the way to go. The flagship LS 400 spanned over five meters and had every accessible zip and zap on board – but unfortunately lacked dignity. A pro-government thing that worked in the USA, but was worth no more than a side note in Europe.

Technically, the LBX is almost identical to the Toyota Yaris Cross and is based on the GA-B Group platform.

(Photo: Lexus)

35 years later, the luxury branch of Toyota is baking smaller cakes. With the LBX, which is only 4.19 meters long, the shortest Lexus of all time will enter dealerships on March 15. Built in Tohoku, Japan, the compact crossover is intended to increase homeopathic sales numbers, especially in Europe, and in the long term to be the most successful pony in the stable. Lexus plans to sell around 24,000 units a year across Europe, 1,500 of them in Germany.

“B” for “Explanation”

Front: the current Lexus face with the newly interpreted Diabolo grill, which is connected to the front without any frame.

LBX has its mission set in its name. Internally, the “B” is said to stand for “Breakthrough”, a long-awaited breakthrough for the brand in the highly competitive European market. In the ideal world of marketing strategists, urban youth with high incomes move in and leave competitors like the Audi Q2 or Mini Countryman behind. Lexus wants to entice new LBX customers. To achieve this, much was invested in the dowry of a small jewelry box.

Technically, the LBX is almost identical to the Toyota Yaris Cross and is based on the GA-B Group platform. Otherwise, many things are more complicated than its middle-class sibling. Of the nearly 100kg of extra weight, only 60kg should go to the extra insulation material to keep it out of the Yaris’ thin-skinned world.

The base Lexus LBX starts at 32,990 euros.

(Photo: Lexus)

Visually, there is absolutely nothing in common between the two. With a six-centimeter wider track and shorter overhangs, the LBX stands firmer and is not tall at least with its 17-inch wheels. It looks more valuable and modern, playing at least in the top league. At the front we see the current face of Lexus with the newly interpreted Diabolo grill, which is connected to the front without any frame. Stylish LED lights sit on it, attached to a horizontal chrome clip.

Preppy handbag SUV

The front hood is made of weight-saving aluminum, the LBX has stylish panels on the wheel arches all around, which don’t look as rusty as the Yaris, and the now-obligatory continuous lamp at the rear. Below that, the brand name is stuck on the board in bold capital letters. A pure wallet SUV.

Materials in the interior of the Lexus LBX are of high quality.

(Photo: Lexus)

Especially since the interior department at Lexus has understood that even a compact Lexus should have a good measure of respectability on board. The equipment is of high quality, the environment is stylish and the list of extra luxuries is long. The cockpit design is simple and uncluttered, with a few buttons for direct access to the most important functions. Lexus places a 9.8-inch touchscreen lower in the center console than its Toyota sibling, which looks more stylish.

All types of electronic assistants come free or for an additional fee. Others who have not successfully entered the B section so far. Such as the predictive efficiency assistant that carefully analyzes traffic through the navigation system and helps the hybrid system save fuel. Or a digital car key, which you can use to unlock and start the car with your smartphone. The electromechanical E-Latch door opening also comes “up” among other things, preventing it from opening when a cyclist approaches.

Sky instead of lines of equipment

A good little bird no longer wants to know anything about equipment lines in the ordinary sense – that would be too common. Now they are called sky. In addition to the base, there are four “Atmopheres”: Elegant and Relax, Emotion and Cool. Each was designed around specific groups, says Lexus. Before customers tick their box, they should try the seat, because it can squeeze drivers taller than 1.90 meters and the comfortable seats cannot be moved back far enough. In the back, passengers have little knee room. Lexus can’t do magic either.

The volume of the trunk is 400 liters in the normal position.

(Photo: Lexus)

The trunk is again the same at 400 litres, although there is a high loading sill that gets in the way. In the all-wheel drive version of the E-Four with an additional electric motor on the rear axle (around 2,200 euros more expensive when adjusted for accessories), the volume decreases to 315 liters.

Lexus can’t afford the luxury of an exclusive car. But that’s okay, because the hybrid ensemble is one of the most modern of its kind. The LBX shares a technically refreshed, self-charging system with the Yaris Cross, which will soon also receive the updated version that Lexus is already installing. The 1.5-liter three-cylinder works with an electric motor on the front axle and the most powerful nickel hybrid battery now. The improved control system should now ensure a more direct response, better acceleration and even lower consumption.

Under the five-liter mark and an economy car

In practice, the development of the economy is a very calm and confident friend who can easily get under the five-liter mark. The system output of 100 kW/136 HP is quite sufficient for everyday use. If you want more change, you’re in the wrong place. Let’s put it this way: Lexus is likely to receive a nomination for Sportsperson of the Year. And that’s okay.

The LBX is more of the kind of friend that doesn’t annoy you, leaves you alone and scans the road surface very quietly. The steering can provide more tactile feedback and the three-cylinder engine sometimes sounds loud when full volume is set to itself. Gifted. Otherwise there is a pleasant peace in the box. Double glazing and active noise insulation isolate the occupants even further for an additional charge. But you don’t really need it.

Unfortunately, the top-of-the-line extra isn’t available on orders, but it does come with a 15-year, 250,000km warranty. The base price of the LBX starts at 32,990 euros – 7,650 euros more than the Yaris Cross. If you style the short one more beautifully, you’ll end up in your forties. In 1989 there was luxury in the five-meter model. But that’s a side story.

Lexus LBX – technical data

  • A four-door SUV with a full hybrid drive
  • Length: 4.19 meters, width: 1.82 meters, height: 1.56 meters, wheelbase: 2.58 meters, trunk volume: 400 liters
  • 1.5 liter three-cylinder petrol engine: system output 100 kW/136 hp, maximum torque of 185 Newton meters, fully excited front electric drive, nickel-metal hybrid battery, CVT transmission
  • 0-100 km/h: 9.2 s, Vmax: 170 km/h, consumption 4.4-4.7 l/100 km (WLTP, combined), COâ‚‚ emissions 100-107 g/km (WLTP , combined),
  • Price Lexus LBX basic front wheel drive: from 32,990 euros
  • Price of Lexus LBX E-Four all-wheel drive: from 39,490 euros